signifying fashion

Andre Benjamin’s style to me has always signaled an anti-masculinist posture, especially viewed against the oversized pants — draped below boxers and including the requisite crotch grabbing — that has tended to dominate hip hop street wear. Benjamin continues to circumvent the boundaries set up to define (and at times confine) black men. His new clothing line exemplifies a different kind of rebellion:

“For an African-American guy to be a prep, that’s a dichotomy,” he said. “Prep style comes from mostly affluent families who just wear these cool clothes. But when you come from a background that has more struggle, your take on it will be different. There’s a certain kind of rebel to it.”

Prep on Andre. (more on Benjamin’s clothing line here).


About jennifer williams

Jennifer D. Williams is a writer and professor of English and Women's and Gender Studies. She has published in academic journals and online at, PopMatters, among other sites. Jennifer is currently working on a book that looks at black women's urban literature between the Depression and the civil rights era.

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